The National Retail Federation reports that retail supports one-out-of-every-four employees, and small businesses make up a large segment. There are close to 3.8 million retail businesses and 42 million people working in a retail business. Each day, thousands of small retail businesses open, selling everything from homemade bread to cell phones. The first step of success is defining and understanding the targeted market the business will serve. Developing and writing a small retail business plan is an initial step because it helps the entrepreneur develop a customer-focused approach to success. In the modern business environment, customers rule as they network on social media and express their needs and desires online.
What do we need to consider in the small retail business plan?
Market Characteristics – What are the needs of the market? How can the business meet those needs? What makes the business products or services so unique that people will feel an urgency to buy the products or services? Marketing research is not just about identifying demographics or doing detail researched. It is about really understanding the consumer needs, preferences, buying behaviors, and so on.
Targeting the Market – Who are the customers? Does the business plan present a vivid picture of the typical customer and why they are considered a person most likely to buy the products or services? The business plan must make the customer come to life as real people who will frequent the business online and/or offline.
Products and Services – The truth is in the details, says an old saying. The small retail business plan needs to make the products or services come to life also. What is so special about the products or services? What are the revenue sources for the business? Why are these products and services different than what the competitors are selling? To differentiate the products and services, the entrepreneur has to present a clear picture as to what makes the products or services unique. A simple description is not enough. Why will customers decide they must buy the product or services, and how will they be delivered?
Assess the Competitors – What are competitors doing wrong that the new business will do right? Does the business plan prove it knows the what, when, where, and how of competitors? Each major competitor must be identified and discussed in terms of their competitive strength and weaknesses.
Marketing – How is the business going to attract the customers it wants to attract? What are the strategies, and how will they be implemented? What is the entrepreneur’s unique selling strategy? The marketing plan is not just about listing activities. It is showing how the entrepreneur will use unique approaches to reach and attract customers. This includes advertising, but it also includes marketing strategies that maximize revenue opportunities. There is a reason why certain products are placed in brick-and-mortar business windows and why websites showcase particular products.
Get the Numbers Right
The financial forecasts do matter – to the entrepreneur and investors. It is important to have the capability of tracking projected revenue and expenses, and cash flows, against the real results. Success is in the details. How many customers are expected to shop online versus offline? How many will buy in the morning versus in the evening? These kinds of details show thorough understanding of the target market and industry, and are critical to making accurate financial forecasts.
Get the business plan right and entrepreneurs can attract investors and have a successful operational plan at the same time. Small retail businesses need a quality business plan every bit as much as a mega-corporation. To think anything different will likely lead to a small business that is unable to attract investors, land a bank loan, or achieve sustainability.
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OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.